British woman who fell off ship in Croatia credits singing and yoga for surviving 10-hour ordeal

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British woman who fell off ship credits yoga and singing for survival

A British woman who fell off a ship in Croatia credits singing and yoga for surviving the ordeal.

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British woman who fell off ship credits yoga and singing for survival

A British woman who fell off a ship in Croatia credits singing and yoga for surviving the ordeal.

A British woman who was rescued 10 hours after falling from a Norwegian Star cruise ship on Saturday credits singing and yoga for helping to survive the ordeal.

Kay Longstaff, 46, spent a night in the Adriatic Sea after she plunged from the ship’s deck 60 miles off the coast of Croatia. Officials on a Croatian rescue ship found the former Virgin Atlantic crewmember Sunday morning, swimming close to where she fell.

“I was in the water for 10 hours, so these wonderful guys rescued me,” Longstaff told Croatia news service HRT, according to Sky News. “I am very lucky to be alive. I was sitting at the back of the deck.”

The rescue ship’s captain, Lovro Oreskovic, also said the woman was “exhausted,” but rescuers were “extremely happy for saving a human life.”

British tourist Kay Longstaff was saved by rescuers with Croatia’s coast guard after falling off a cruise ship near the Croatian coast.  (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

An unidentified rescuer told The Sun that Longstaff credited her survival to yoga and singing.

“She said the fact that she practices yoga helped her as she was fit. And she said she was singing to not feel cold in the sea overnight,” the rescuer told the news site.

David Radas, a spokesman at Croatia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs, said surveillance video on the ship ultimately helped rescuers locate Longstaff.

It’s unclear what led to Longstaff going overboard. Several passengers told The Sun that Longstaff and her partner appeared to be fighting before the incident. Others said alcohol was involved.

Officials are investigating the incident.

This Mom Doing Yoga and Breastfeeding at the Same Time Brings a Whole New Meaning to the Term “Balance”

Meet Carlee Benear, the breastfeeding mom who can seemingly nurse her baby in just about any yoga pose. Benear’s Instagram feed features shots of the mama assuming a whole range of challenging contortions—and we’re not just impressed by her flexibility and strength, we’re also sort of mesmerized by the way she continues to breastfeed no matter how complicated her pose is.

The 29-year-old mother struggled with postpartum depression after she gave birth to her first child, and when she became pregnant for the second time, she knew she’d do everything in her power to avoid going through depression again. Benear turned to exercise…but quickly realized it would be tough to juggle her role as a mom with her new workout regimen. “As my second child grew older, it became more challenging for me to make it out of the house,” she says. “I enjoy being a home body. I still needed an activity to help me work off the frustrations that come along with parenting. So, I decided to try yoga…My journey with yoga caught fire, it is something that makes me happy. Its also something that my children enjoy.

Benear’s breastfeeding photos aren’t just impressive to look at, they also represent her incredible bond with her children. “It reminded me how much my kids loved me and how important I was to them,” she said of looking at the photos. “Finding that release helped me find confidence as a parent and in turn helped me build confidence in my children. For me it was yoga that sent us all on a journey of self-discovery. I think it’s exciting to explore my potential, to learn about my body and what my mind is capable of. When I go back and look at my photos, I see strength. I see the courage it takes me to be a good parent. I see the woman my children see. A parent who is actively trying to be better every single day. I want my children to look back on those photos and find the urge to always try.”

This Mom Breastfeeds While Doing a Yoga Handstand—and Her Photos Have Sparked Controversy Online

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: It is so important for moms to continue taking care of themselves even after they welcome their children. We absolutely love that this mom found a way to nurture herself emotional and physically while still doing what is best for her baby.

Benear is vocal about the importance of finding this balance. Yoga is her personal savior, but she knows that every mom will find comfort in something different. “It doesn’t have to be yoga, find what moves you inside and out,” she said. “Do more of what you love.”

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Kelly Ripa Shows Killer Yoga Moves During Rigorous Workout Session In Bahamas

Kelly Ripa is one fit lady and she proved why she looks the way she does in her latest Instagram post. The 47-year-old talk show host is currently in the Bahamas where Live! was filmed this week. Ripa is taking some down time, but is also fitting in a rigorous workout.

In the images seen below, Kelly is displaying some killer yoga moves with a group of her friends.

“Not since my honeymoon have I seen moves like these,” Kelly Ripa writes in part of the caption.

Kelly is the second one from the left. She’s flashing a big smile while having a fun but challenging yoga session with her pals. In her workout attire and donning aviator glasses, Ripa looks in her element as the turquoise water and blue skies complete the picture.

Kelly shared 10 images on Instagram of her workout on Saturday. Click through the images and see the killer yoga moves she does with handstands, downward dog, inversions, and other advanced poses. Kelly even has some of the other women posing on top of her. In one of the photos, Ripa is balancing on the legs of one of her friends and is in a flying position with another. It’s safe to say to the popular star is incredibly strong besides looking insanely fit. The ability to not only hold your own body up, but one or two others is a true testament to one’s level of fitness.

As The Inquisitr reported earlier this week, Kelly Ripa was taking in some sunshine on the beach after arriving in the Bahamas. She was seen in a tiny black bikini, which can be seen here.

Kelly’s her love affair with exercise started slowly. She began with walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes and gradually increasing the time. Eventually she started running and turned to more strenuous workouts that concentrate on various muscle groups. When it comes to eating, she admits to eating a pizza and fries once a week, but mainly sticks to an alkaline diet the rest of the time.

Kelly Ripa has also shared other photos from her working vacation in the Bahamas. She posted one image of her paddle boarding with Live! co-host, Ryan Seacrest and one of her with dad, Joe Ripa, on a boat.

The Yoga of Politics

As a general rule, I try not to bring politics into my teaching. It can be divisive and triggering for people – the opposite of what we are going for in yoga. However, the current election is so deeply enmeshed in the consciousness of our society that it has to be looked at one way or another. I choose to perceive it like I do all of life: through a yogic lens.

Historically, when a leader has arisen through narcissistic or oppressive behavior, he or she leaves an indelible mark. It is the mark of infamy, and it causes those in the aftermath of that leadership to be left with a heavy conscience. The textbook (or google) definition of a conscience is “an inner feeling or voice viewed as acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of one’s behavior.” Our conscience is our voice that recognizes the inherent good in all beings. It’s the part of our spirit that can recognize the self in others. It’s the place we are speaking from when we say “Namaste.” When we acknowledge the intrinsic connection of all beings, we transcend differences in race, religion, gender, and politics. We realize that the person who is standing up there on the podium is actually a reflection, on some part, of our own self.

To me, this election is a reminder of the values we have mistakenly taken on as a culture, and the healing that needs to be done as a result. We actually have to look inward and ask ourselves: what is being brought to light in this dialogue? Where have I personally disempowered myself or other races? Where have I objectified other women, or allowed myself as a woman to be objectified? Where have I been mistrusting? When do I lie? When have I looked at money as a symbol or self-worth? All of these topics are being surfaced right now because they can no longer afford to be hidden. That is actually what the practice of yoga teaches us: how to bring the light of our awareness to the subject at hand. That subject might be a physical posture, a breath technique, a visualization, or it might be our finances, our relationships, or politics. They are all just experiences that arise and fall in our consciousness.

In fact, yoga teaches us that everything on this realm exists as consciousness. All of my thoughts, feelings, and limited beliefs are in some way being mirrored back to me at all times. Our political candidates are just reflections of what the majority of our country has seen value in. As one of my teachers likes to say: It’s not what’s coming at us, it’s what’s coming from us.

In my humble opinion, rather than analyze, fear and place blame in this election, we need to take responsibility for our own actions and create the change we wish to see in the world. Let’s perceive the rhetoric not as negative talk but as a catalyst for change. Through awareness comes transformation and ultimately, evolution. Evolution happens because one way of living is no longer sustainable, and the conscience of a people decides to take a new course. We can use this experience not to strengthen our political ties but to strengthen our connection to each other and grow as a whole.

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6 best yoga poses for back pain

A few years ago, I worked with a student whose back pain was so severe he couldn’t walk without slumping over. He was taking pain medication and self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. The agony was making him irritable, which was ruining his relationships. Then, there was the looming cost of back surgery, which threatened to leave him even worse off than before.

But after two months of working with me on yoga therapeutics, back alignment and breath, his pain cleared. He told me he felt like he was alive again.

If back pain is all too familiar to you, too, try these yoga poses — with guidance from an experienced teacher, if necessary — to help alleviate the pain and keep it at bay:

How to do it: Start on your hands and knees with your wrists directly under your shoulders. Adjust your knees so they are under your hips and inner hips-width apart. Make sure the front of your ribs does not collapse toward the floor. Lengthen your spine first, then inhale while arching your back and looking forward. As you exhale, round your back and look toward your naval. Complete five to 10 cycles of cat and cow, or as many rounds as you need to clear your low-back pain. Move slowly, while deepening your breath. Make sure you only use the range of motion that feels good on your back. Finish with a neutral spine and pelvis, and hold that position for a breath before stopping your flow.

Why to do it: Table top — the neutral pose you started and ended in — allows your back to be in an anatomically aligned position. Flowing in cat cow allows more movement in the low and mid back, which is particularly helpful for people with back pain, since most of them tend to be stuck in a flat back position from sitting for hours daily. Start in this flow to re-establish malleability and the ability to both arch and dip your spine equally.

How to do it: Stand about one legs-length away from a wall. Lean forward and set your palms on the wall so that your back is parallel to the floor. Straighten your arms and lengthen your back. Bend your knees enough to tilt your pelvis up, creating a release in your low back. Make sure you do not over-arch your mid back. Hold this pose for five to 10 deep breaths.

Why to do it: This non-weight bearing variation of down dog affords you all the pose’s benefits without the difficulty of holding it on your mat. This option gives you the time to hold the pose long enough to find relief.

How to do it: Stand in low lunge with your right foot forward. Put your left hand on the floor as far to the left as it will go while keeping your hips square and your front knee pointing over your foot. Swing your right arm alongside your right ear and turn your chest upwards. Look under your top arm toward the ceiling. Hold the pose for several breaths and repeat on the second side.

Why to do it: This variation of lunge lengthens your torso and side ribs — a space crucial to create when you have back problems. That’s because it’s the precise area where people tend to shorten their posture and eventually hurt their backs.

How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Make sure your ankles are underneath your feet and your feet point straight forward. Place a block at its most narrow setting between your upper inner thighs. Squeeze the block and encourage it to slide toward the floor. Only as much as you can keep the block between your thighs, root your feet down and lift your hips and low back up. Hold for five breaths and slowly lower your hips back to the floor.

Why to do it: Backbends are a great way to open and heal your back — if done correctly. However, if you misalign your backbend by allowing your feet, knees and thighs to turn out, the pose can be dangerous. Using a block keeps your inner thighs turned inward and helps protect your back.

How to do it: Start lying down on your back. Bend your knees and place your feet as wide as your mat. Let both knees drop to the right like windshield wipers and hook your right ankle across your left thigh. Extend your arms out to your sides, bend your elbows and turn your palms up. Look slightly left and keep both shoulders on the floor. Hold the pose for five breaths and repeat on the second side.

Why to do it: Twisting creates space through the sides of your body where you tend to slouch. This gentle twist provides stability so you can focus on your alignment and lengthening your back while you twist.

How to do it: While on your back, bend both knees in toward your chest and hold your shins just below your kneecaps. Widen your knees enough to cradle your torso. Flex your feet, press your shins up against your hands and move them away from your chest enough to feel a slight arch and release in your low back. Breathe fully and imagine your back swelling up like a parachute. Hold still or rock side to side — whichever feels good on your back.

Why to do it: Instead of pulling your knees toward your chest, like most yogis do in the happy baby pose, this pose moves your knees away from your body. This creates more of a natural curve in your low back. Hold this shape and breathe deeply to help clear pain.

 

Twisting creates space through the sides of your body where you tend to slouch. This gentle twist provides stability so you can focus on your alignment and lengthening your back while you twist. (Getty Images)

 

Yoga for a Flat Belly [VIDEO]

You don’t need to love to bust through this flow. Designed to flatten and tone your tummy, it will require strength, attention to breath and plenty of balance. Registered yoga instructor, Jean Sherfick, will lead you through this flow, beginning with a welcoming warm up and ending in a well deserved savasana. Ohm. Get to work!

Slide 1/12 – 1. Downward Dog | 3 Breaths
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From standing position, bend over, placing your hands on the floor. Walk your hands out until both your hands and your feet are completely touching the mat. You should resemble a downward “v.” Take your legs out to shoulder-width apart and spread your fingers apart. (4) Press through your palms and keep your hips pushed back. Keep your neck relaxed and hold this position.

Slide 2/12 – 2. 3-Legged Dog Knee Twist | 3x Each Side

Get into your downward dog by first coming into your high plank. Push the hips back, pressing into your heels until you reach your downward dog. Lift one leg high. Look to your belly button. Pull the leg into the body by bending the knee and bracing the core. Do not let the leg touch the floor on the way to the outside elbow. You’ll have the same-side elbow and knee meet first. Keep your hips down and your shoulder blades nicely rounded for stabilization. Slightly rotate the hips as the knee crosses underneath the body and taps the other elbow. Really squeeze the obliques and find balance in the arms through the triceps. Extend the leg out and return it to the 3-legged downward dog position to begin a second rep.

Slide 3/12 – 3. Forearm Plank | :30 seconds
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Lie face down on floor resting on your forearms. Push up off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows. Keep your back flat, contracting your abdominal muscles while you hold your body in a straight line from head to heels. Don’t let your butt sag or stick up in the air.

Slide 4/12 – 4. Dolphin Press | 5x

Come into your downward dog, pressing the heels into the floor. Then walk yourself down to your elbows and claps the hands together. Make sure the head drops between the arms. It’s OK if the heels come off the floor since you’re lower. Stabilize through the shoulders as you lean the chest forward, allowing it to come between the elbows. Keep the hips slightly piked, the the arch of a dolphin’s back. As you come forward, you’ll test your balance and challenge the core. Shift back to your starting position to complete your first rep. 

Slide 5/12 – 5. Child’s Pose | 3 Breaths

Come to your hands and knees, spreading the knees a few inches apart. Drop your hips backward toward your heels; drop your head between your arms as your hands stay on the ground. Reach them out in front of you. Rest you forehead on the floor if you can and breathe, allowing yourself to melt into the pose more with each exhale.

Slide 6/12 – 6. Forearm Plank with Alternating Leg Lifts | 5x Each Side

Come into a low plank by setting your elbows under the shoulders and pressing your hands into the mat, straight out in front of you. Round the shoulder blades and engage your lats. Keep your feet together and squeeze the inner thighs up through the core. Make sure you’re in a nice straight line. Exhale and lift one foot from the floor, keeping it flexed. You want your hips to stay square to your mat, so try to isolate that movement from the rest of your body. Push back through that supporting leg’s heel. Lower the foot to the ground then repeat on the other side.

Slide 7/12 – 7. Gate Pose | 5x Each Side

This pose is excellent for a deep oblique and lat stretch as well as strengthener. Come to your knees and extend one leg out to the side, keeping your entire foot on the ground. Rest the same side arm on the extended leg, then lift the other arm up and over, stretching to to the opposite side. Look up toward your raised arm. Reverse the movement by dropping the raised arm to your side and lifting the other arm up and over your head as you gaze down. Keep the hips pushed forward so you don’t sink backward out of your posture.

Slide 8/12 – 8. Side Plank with Leg Lifts | 5x Each Side

Come into a side plank position with your wrist under your shoulder and your feet either stacked or staggered.  Make sure your hips are not rolling backward, forward or hinging. Push yourself up by squeezing your lower oblique. Rest the other hand on your hip. Flex the feet as you lift the top one as high as you can, aiming to get it to hip level. If this is too difficult, drop the bottom knee and tuck the leg straight behind you in a 90-degree bend. As you lift and lower, be aware of you lower hip position — don’t let it drop!

Slide 9/12 – 9. Boat Crunch | 5x

Sit down, bend your knees, then raise your legs until the knees are over the hips. Raise your upper body until you create a “V” from the chest to the thighs. Extend the arms forward for balance. Pull the belly button in so you are not arching your back. Try to get your calves parallel with the floor. Inhale and extend the legs out as you drop the upper body, opening the “V” to become almost parallel with the floor. Think about being long. Flex or point the feet. Watch to video to see the move performed.

Slide 10/12 – 10. Barbie Abs | 5x

Lie on your back with your arms at your side, palms down. Raise your legs over the hips and pointing the feet. Create the “Barbie foot” by flexing only the toes. Bring one leg about 12 inches closer to you and hold this position. Lower the legs, keeping them firmly locked in your starting position. You’re only changing the angle of your hips by opening it as you lower. Raise the legs up again and repeat a few more reps before switching legs.

Slide 11/12 – 11. Cobra Pose | 5x

Lie face down with your legs slightly wider apart than your hips. Place your palms on the mat under your chest, fingers pointing forward. Press your elbows in close to your ribcage and squeeze your shoulder blades towards one another. You should feel your chest start to open. Inhale and use your back muscles (not just your arms) to lift your head and chest off the floor. Come to the tops of your toes and take deep breaths. Keep your neck elongated and in line with your spine. To help, find a spot a few steps in front you to look at. Hold for 10 seconds. Exhale as you return to the starting position. Hold for one deep breath and then repeat. Do this as many times as you can for 60 seconds.

Best Yoga Workout Moves for Men

Forward Fold

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Stretches hamstrings, calves, and hips; strengthens legs and knees


How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, gently hinge forward at the hips and lower the torso toward the floor. Bend your knees generously to take any pressure out of the low back and hamstrings. Grab your ankles or grasp opposite elbows with opposite hands. Breathe deeply and let gravity take the body toward the earth. Relax your head, neck, shoulders and torso. Slowly sway your torso or gently shake your head. Hold for one minute and roll back up to standing. 



Why it’s good for you: This is a great move to use as part of a warm-up for any workout.

We often have a hard time knowing when we are holding excess tension in our head, neck and shoulders, and that buildup of tension can create headaches, insomnia, poor circulation and decreased lung capacity. If you practice slow, steady breathing along with this pose, it can lower your blood pressure over time.

Downward-Facing Dog

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Stretches feet, shoulders, hamstrings, and calves; strengthens arms, legs, and core


How to do it: Start on your hands and knees with your feet and knees hip-width apart. Position your hands about shoulder-width apart, and spread your fingers wide. Pressing firmly through your hands, lift your knees off the floor and straighten your legs. (If you have tight hamstrings, a gentle bend in the knees is fine). Walk your hands forward a few inches, and walk your feet back a few inches to lengthen the pose. Squeeze your thighs as you press them toward the back wall. Press your heels back and down toward the floor (though they might not reach the floor). Relax your head and neck and let your shoulder blades slide down your back toward your feet. Set your gaze between your feet. Suck your stomach in and engage your core muscles. Breathe deeply. Hold for three minutes, rest, and repeat one more time. 



Why it’s good for you: We often experience back pain due to chronic tightness in the hamstrings and hips. It’s also common for us to have very tight shoulders. Down Dog releases those areas, while building upper body strength. If you can do only one pose a day, start with Downward Dog.

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Stretches shoulders and chest; strengthens thighs, calves, spine, and ankles

How to do it: 
Stand up tall with your big toes touching. Inhale and raise your arms straight up to the ceiling alongside your head and neck with palms facing each other. Drop your shoulders down your back as you lengthen up through the neck. As you exhale, bend your knees, sit down and back as if you were sitting in a chair (like doing a squat with your feet together). Do not let your knees extend past your toes. With each inhale lengthen the spine. With each exhale sit a little deeper in the chair. Eventually your thighs will be parallel to the floor. Drop your tailbone down toward the floor to take any stress out of your lower back. Keep your core muscles engaged and keep your knees and thighs pressed tightly together. Hold for 30 seconds.



Why it’s good for you: No gym necessary! Chair pose torches abdominal fat while strengthening the thighs and legs.

Crescent Lunge

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Loosens tight hips by stretching the groin; strengthens arms and legs


How to do it: Start on your hands and knees. Step your right foot between your hands into a lunge, keeping your right knee directly above your heel. Inhale and slowly lift your back knee off the floor. Press your back heel toward the wall behind you as you begin to straighten the back leg. Keep your spine long as you hold and breathe. Let your hips fall forward as you continue to press the back heel behind you. Hold for one minute and then repeat on the second side. Do each side twice. 



Why it’s good for you: Tight hips can cause lower back pain, knee strain, and injury, which can keep you out of the game, out of the gym, and in pain at your desk. Add Crescent Lunge to your pre-workout routine to open the hips.

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Stretches shoulders and hips; strengthens upper and lower body

How to do it: Come into Crescent Lunge with your right foot forward in the lunge. Spin your left toes to face the left side of the room and press your heel down. Your back foot should be parallel with the front of the room. Inhale and reach your arms up alongside your head with your palms facing each other. Drop your shoulders down your back. Bring your torso up and off the front thigh. Don’t let your front knee extend past the toes. Both hips should face forward. Hold for one minute. Repeat on the opposite side.

Why it’s good for you: Warrior increases space and mobility in areas where men need it most—shoulders, hips, and knees. It’s another pose that generates great stability in and around the knee, so increases stability for high-impact workouts.

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Stretches chest, neck, spine, and hips

How to do it: Lie on your back, bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor hip-width apart. You should be able to tickle the backs of your heels with your hands. Place your arms on the floor alongside your body, palms down, and as you inhale, lift your hips off the floor and press them to the ceiling. Keep your knees directly over your heels. For an added shoulder stretch slide your arms under your body, interlace your fingers, and press the backs of your arms into the floor as you continue to lift your hips. Hold for 45 seconds and with each breath, let your hips float a little higher. Exhale when you lower your hips. Repeat 3 times.

Why it’s good for you: Many men are tight in the intercostal muscles and connective tissue surrounding the rib cage, which can limit lung capacity. Bridge pose opens the chest and releases those tight muscles, allowing for fuller, easier breaths. Over time, practicing this pose can improve performance in all physical activities and is helpful for relieving upper respiratory issues.

Half Bow Pose

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Stretches hips, shoulders, and thighs; strengthens back

How to do it: Lie on your stomach and reach your left arm back toward your left foot with the palm facing up. Stretch your right arm out in front of you and your right leg out behind you. Bend your left knee so that your heel comes in toward your buttocks. Inhale and grab the outside of your left ankle. Press your ankle into your hand and your hand into your ankle as you lift your thighs off the floor. Breathe deeply and fully as you continue pressing your legs up and back. Hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. Repeat two or three times.

Try the Full Bow Pose by grabbing both ankles.

Why it’s good for you: One of the best stress-busting poses, Bow opens the chest to allow you to take in more oxygen. Strong abs are great, but can lead to injury if you don’t strengthen the back, too. Bow pose takes care of this, reducing your risk of injury due to muscular imbalance.

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Strengthens abs, spine, arms and hip flexors

How to do it: Sit on the floor with your knees bent and feet on the floor in front of you. Place your hands behind your glutes and lean into the arms for support. Engage your core muscles and keep a perfectly straight spine as you lift your right leg and then the left, bringing them to a 45-degree angle with the floor. Bring your legs together and imagine squeezing a book between your thighs to keep them active. Lift through the sternum and slowly straighten your legs while keeping your torso straight (if it starts to collapse, keep a slight bend in the knees). Press through the balls of the feet and spread your toes wide. Reach your arms toward the front of the room, on either side of your legs, keeping them in line with your shoulders, palms facing down. Hold for 30 seconds, working up to a minute or longer.

Why it’s good for you: In addition to strengthening the core and back muscles, Boat promotes healthy thyroid and prostate gland function

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Stretches knees, ankles and thighs

How to do it: Begin in a kneeling position with knees touching. Bring your heels out alongside your buttocks, keeping your shins and ankles pressing down into the floor. If you can, sit your buttocks on the floor between your legs. If this is uncomfortable, place a phone book or block beneath you to lessen the tension in the knees and ankles. You will feel a strong stretching sensation, but you should not feel pain. This is a progressive pose and your body will adapt to it over time. Hold for one minute and keep your breath slow and deep. Rest, and repeat a second time.

Why it’s good for you: Hero pose stabilizes and strengthens the vulnerable knee joints while lubricating the connective tissues in and around the knee with blood, oxygen, and fluid, making it an essential pose for runners.

Reclining Big Toe

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Stretches hips, thighs, hamstrings, groins, and calves; strengthens the knees

How to do it: Lie on your back and extend your left leg toward the ceiling at a 90-degree angle with your right leg extended along the floor. Flex both feet. Bend your left knee and bring the knee in toward your chest using your hands. Hug it tightly against your body to relax your hip. Next, loop a strap around your left foot and slowly straighten the left leg back to 90 degrees. Press your right thigh firmly down against the floor. Hold for 5 breaths and repeat on the opposite side. Repeat twice on each side.

Why it’s good for you: This pose stimulates the prostate gland and improves digestion. Runners may find it useful for relieving sciatica caused by a tight piriformis.

Finish in Corpse Pose, lying flat on your back with your arms alongside your body. Close your eyes and breathe naturally. Stay here for at least two to three minutes and allow every muscle to melt into the floor beneath you.

If you think you’re too manly for yoga, we have some bad news: You’re already doing it.

Those planks you add to every core session? Yoga. That stretch before your pickup game? Yoga. The deep breaths you take to center yourself when you’re stressed? Yoga. If you think a style of exercise should be gendered, you should probably find yourself some way to travel back in time, because that’s the only place those types of rigid, restrictive ideas still exist.

Yoga can be extremely beneficial for everyone — but especially for men. Taking one yoga class per week or doing a couple of pre-workout poses can increase endurance, build strength, prevent injuries, and may even stave off heart disease.

How? “Men often suffer from tightness particularly in the hips, hamstrings, and shoulders that can lead to injury or weakness,” Baron Baptiste, creator of Baptiste Power Vinyasa Yoga and former assistant coach with the Philadelphia Eagles told MensHealth.com. “Over-training in any one sport can cause repetitive stress and other more serious injuries. Yoga is a full-body workout that creates both strength and flexibility. You need to have both. One without the other is a recipe for disaster.”

Not sure where to start with your brand new commitment to yoga? Practice these 10 poses in this order, which Baptiste claimed can benefit men because they stretch out guys’ tightest spots (like the shoulders, hips, and groin) and strengthen muscles that get no love during workouts (like the low back and knees).

Everything We’ve Ever Been Told About Achieving is Wrong – Strala Yoga

I’ve learned something incredibly valuable over the last several years, and it goes against everything I’ve been taught about achieving in my life. It’s been a revolution for me, allowing me to achieve more and actually enjoy the process of working toward my goals, without stress, tension, struggle and defeat.

When I started to dive into what I was discovering, I found there was a strict rulebook in place for life.  If we follow it diligently, work really hard, keep our head down, and push on through all the stress and struggle, it tells us we might just get to something good, someday. I don’t think this is the best way, and I’m not really sure it works all that well for any of us.  I think there’s something better.

What I realized was revolutionary for me, and the more I started to get into the process, and actually practice being in this new way, the more my whole world expanded and exploded. It put me in a new place of playing catch-up with all the awesomeness that I experience, more than I ever dreamed. It’s a wonderful place to be, and I know we can all be here.

All the sacred yoga and philosophy texts tell us that when we are in control of how we feel – not in control of our circumstances, but changing how we feel about them – then we can become ok with how things are. They tell us the the world is full of suffering, stress, and struggle, and our job is to practice this suffering, as a way of becoming ok with it, and of one day transcending it.

I get it, that’s nice.  But with all the progress we’ve made around the science of stress, we know this just isn’t a great idea. We don’t need more stress, and we certainly don’t need to practice it.  I knew I wanted something more than this. I wanted to feel great, and live an awesome life.  I wanted to create and recreate the world around me, release stress, and when challenges arise, learn to move easily through them. Too much to ask? I don’t think so.

I started to practice my life in a different way.

I made the following statements my mantras.

Move easy. Everything you’ve got.
In every direction you can.

Use what you need. Rest what you don’t.

Do both simple and challenging tasks
with the least amount of effort.

How you move is how you are.

Everything changed. My body started to work really well. My mind became more calm and clear. I was starting to gain access to my whole self instead of my partial self, the rest of it locked up in tension, stress and fear. Things started to get good, then really good, then awesome.

We all grew up with “no pain, no gain.” As adults, the busier you are and the more stressed you are with everything you’ve got going on, the more we get tricked into believing all this is a sign of success. Sleep deprivation is something to aspire to. Pushing against obstacles all day every day is proof that we’re achieving.

Leading yoga for so many years, I am grateful to discover how we are in our bodies matches how we are in our lives. It gives our yoga practice breathtaking potential. Who cares what yoga poses you can or cannot do. How you are, how you move, how your energy is – is all that matters. And when you align how you are with how you’d like to be, all the poses become easy anyway. You realize they are only one frame of the flow, arbitrary waypoints along a journey without endpoints. The flow is our life.

A gigantic shift – even bigger than the big bang – was the big softening that must have come before it. This softening is the transition we can take to get more, do more, see more, achieve more, all with less energy.  It’s the transition we can take to feel fantastic during the entire process.  This one is important.

How you feel when you get where you’re going
is created by how you feel along the way.

Believing in yourself is the root of the issue here. When we lack belief, we stress, tense, judge, and basically act crazy to get the things we think we want. When we take the big leap of faith in our selves and our own natural ability, we can begin the process of softening. It’s our way of opening the door to everything good that can happen.

Trust your body will do what it needs to do without you tensing it. Trust your mind will do what it needs to do without you stressing it. Let your spirit run wild with the natural energy you contain. We block our energy when we fill ourselves with extra tension and stress.  We become unblocked and limitlessly capable when we drop the stress, and learn to move in harmony with our selves.

When I get stuck, I have a simple process to come back to this ease. Try it out and let me know how it goes.

1. Soften. Without softness, very little is possible. Energy, movement and flow are blocked. You can still do your life tense, but you won’t live up to your full potential.

Softening comes in two parts. The first is physical softening. Bend your joints a bit, and relax your muscles. Allow some space to enter. The second is emotional softening. Soften your whole self. Ease your mind. Allow some space to enter.

2. Breathe deep enough that you can feel. Breathing is one thing we can do all day long without getting tired. And there is so much more we can do to access the power of our breath, besides simply breathing automatically. The beginning of this is breathing so deep that we start to notice how we feel, how we are.

3. Sensitize. The first 2 steps will lead you to actually feel what’s going on with you. Your body is always talking to you. Now you can join the conversation.

This can be quite scary, especially when we’ve been trained to block out sensation and push through pain. Sensitizing gives us incredible information. It’s how we each become our own best caregivers. From here, we learn to release, relax, heal, and simultaneously get in the flow, doing more with less energy. Our result is outstanding accomplishment, with energy left over to use for more, while feeling great during the entire process.

Your body is always talking to you.
This is how you join the conversation.

All of this matters because you matter. Going through life forcing, pushing and struggling can get you to some of your goals, but you will have a limit. Using more effort and tension than needed to get where we’re going is a strategy that breaks down over time, because it breaks us down over time.  Worse, you’ll most likely feel miserable during the process, as well as when you get there. The prize may arrive, but how you feel about it lacks the value we crave.

So this brings me back around to all those sacred yoga and philosophy texts. I think we can rewrite the message in a way that makes sense for us now.

The world isn’t simply how it is,
full of stress and struggle and suffering,
so we just have to get used to it.

I don’t believe we’re so limited.  The world around us – how we feel, how we navigate through it all – is what we each create.

This incredible power is in all of us. You can change your circumstances, your life, by changing how you are in your body and mind.  It’s in how you move, through everything you do.  Slow down, breath deep enough to feel, believe that what you feel is worth responding to, and respond. This changes everything. You literally can have it all – because you create it – and more.

About Strala Training

Strala uses yoga, tai chi, and traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, to help people live radiantly healthy and inspiring lives. It begins with a mindset, that says our best way to get where we’re going is to feel good along the way. It also works miracles for whole health, by helping us learn to bring our entire self into everything we do, unblock energy where it’s stuck, and move more naturally and efficiently through challenge.

In our Strala Training Courses, you learn to shape your destiny on every level that counts, from your psychology, chemistry and neurology, to your chromosomes and even gene expression. The unique set of skills you develop – for connecting with yourself and others, unblocking your energy, healing what needs healing and accomplishing challenge with ease – uncovers your ability to create the life you want, and be an inspiring leader to the people around you.

The Best Yoga Mats for 2019: Reviews by Wirecutter | A New York Times Company

The Liforme Yoga Mat has generated a lot of buzz , thanks to its dual-layered polyurethane-and-rubber makeup and helpful alignment markings (so you know where to place hands and feet)—and for its high price. (The Liforme’s price is more than double that of our similarly fabricated top pick .) Both of our yoga-instructor testers really liked the mat for its stickiness in both hatha and hot yoga, its relatively lightweight construction, and the handy bag it comes in. They really had no complaints, though they pointed out that its less than 4.2 millimeter (3/16-inch) thickness might not be cushion enough for some users. Still, for all its “great presentation,” neither tester said they would pay the sticker price. The cork-and-rubber mat from Basically Perfect floated above a similar option from Gaia Guy . Both are great at absorbing sweat in hot yoga sessions, but our instructors found the Basically Perfect mat to be adequately sticky even when dry. Gaia Guy’s mat required some dampness (the instructions recommend a pre-practice spritz from a water bottle) to prevent slippage. Both are the same thickness as our top pick (5 millimeters), yet cork feels denser, making these mats less plush overall. We were interested in testing the Hugger Mugger Para Mat , which did well in a previous review, when we learned that a new XLXW version measuring 28 inches wide and 78 inches long was launching. Though our yogis enjoyed practicing on the extremely grippy, luxuriously thick (¼ inch/6.2 millimeter) natural rubber mat, they found it very heavy to haul around (8 pounds) and extremely pungent (our hot-yoga instructor described it as smelling like a tire factory, which even bothered her neighbor in class). The Kulae tpECOmat Ultra mat is made of similar TPE material to the Yoga Rat mat, but with an extra-plush 8 millimeter (5/16-inch) thickness. The hatha instructor and I were big fans of the lightweight yet densely cushioned material, which I particularly enjoyed in restorative yoga practice during long-held floor poses. Our hot yoga instructor found it slippery and commented that the material stretches a bit underfoot. We all agreed its thickness makes it a bit unwieldy to carry when rolled up, despite its only 4-pound weight. The all-rubber Prana Indigena got high marks from the hatha instructor, who praised the grip and thickness and raved that the mat “greatly improved his practice.” He noted, though, that it felt too heavy (at 6.1 pounds) to carry around, and that he’d prefer it for at-home practice. As soon as she got sweaty, the hot-yoga instructor slipped and slid on this mat, which she described as overly long—at 78 inches, or 6 to 10 inches longer than most mats—and smelling like burnt rubber. The Manduka Pro and the thinner ProLite polyurethane mats have legions of fans who praise them for their durability, which the company backs with a lifetime guarantee. The lingering problem in our testers’ minds: The surface requires extensive breaking in before it’s sticky. The company recognizes this issue, and suggests giving these mats a scrub with salt and water “to speed things up a little” while breaking them in. The dual-layer  Yoga Design Lab Combo Yoga Mat is a towel-fused rubber mat that’s designed specifically for hot yoga—you can even machine wash it. However, both yoga instructors struggled with its lack of stickiness when dry and wet. The Aurorae Yoga Classic Thick Yoga Mat , made of PER foam, also had divided results. The hatha instructor was generally impressed with its cushiony padding and stickiness, and particularly liked the included rosin bag, which helped him get his grip when his hands got sweaty. Our hot-yoga instructor agreed that the rosin helped, but only to a point—toward the end of class, she resorted to layering up with her yoga towel. HalfMoon Yoga’s Mighty Mat had fans among readers who commented on a previous version of this guide, so we gave it a go. Both yoga instructors were only mildly impressed by it, finding the mat difficult to unroll and the surface just okay for practice. In the words of our hot-yoga instructor: “Amazon makes yoga mats?” The AmazonBasics ¼-Inch Yoga and Exercise Mat with Carrying Strap didn’t really impress her (aside from the included carrying strap, which she appreciated) or the hatha instructor, who used “decent” and “generic” to describe it. Both found the PER material slippery whether dry or wet. Travel Mats The Lululemon The Reversible (Un) Mat Lightweight Travel  has the same smooth-but-grippy texture that our yoga instructors loved in the brand’s The Reversible Mat 5mm . At just 3 millimeters it’s significantly thinner, which makes it much lighter to carry but also far less cushioned. Unfortunately, it can’t be folded easily, making it not ideal for travel—its rolled length of 26 inches is too long to fit inside backpacks or carry-on suitcases. The natural rubber Manduka eKO SuperLite got great reviews from our instructors for its portability. Weighing just 2 pounds, it’s nearly as light as the JadeYoga Voyager, but it doesn’t fold down quite as compactly. Unfortunately, our yogis didn’t agree on the quality of its traction—it satisfied our hatha instructor but had the hot yoga instructor complaining about slippage from the get-go. Gaiam makes two nearly identical versions of its PVC travel mat, the Foldable 2mm and the On-The-Go , the latter of which has integrated carrying straps. Both fold down nicely and the straps seemed like a good idea—until we realized they are affixed to the mat and got in the way of practice. Our hot yoga instructor complained about the PVC being very slick, and “actually had to stop using [the mat] 20 minutes in.” The microfiber top surface of the Toplus 1/16 Inch Travel Yoga Mat has a nice feel, and the mat comes in a tidy plastic sleeve for storage. But our hatha instructor was not impressed with the traction; and though our hot yoga instructor thought it was decent on her trial run, she preferred the JadeYoga Voyager. The Khataland YoFoMat is bulky (it takes up twice the space of other mats), feels cheap (even though it isn’t), and is slick to the touch. Neither yoga instructor wanted to test it, and I agreed it wasn’t worth their time. We also considered YogaPaws , a set of padded gloves and socks that could easily be the most portable mat-replacement option for traveling yogis. Unfortunately, neither yoga instructor nor I much liked practicing in them. Even the thinner version feels thick under your hands and feet, and the socks have a tendency to shift around as you practice.

So You Want to ‘Major’ in Yoga? Here’s How

Yogic degree programs are popping up at universities across the country. Here are four to try.

If you’ve been wanting to further your yogic studies beyond Om-schooling, you’re in luck, because schools around the country are starting to offer academic programs and curriculums designed for those who would like to take their education beyond the mat. 

“We’ve trained teachers, nurses, parent educators, mindfulness teachers, and others,” says Melissa Jean, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mindfulness Studies at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Want to learn Sanskrit, dive deep into yogic history and philosophy, or study abroad in India? Learn to teach mindfulness, become a yoga therapist, or design corporate wellness programs? Here are four programs that will inspire you to go back to school.

Loyola Marymount University: Master of Arts in Yogic Studies

This program, located in Los Angeles, California, offers a Master of Arts in Yogic Studies—the first graduate degree of its kind. It features two tracks: a two-year residential model, and a low-residency hybrid, where students complete approximately 15 percent of their studies on campus and the rest online. The low-residency program is pending approval for Fall 2018, and takes place over the course of two and a half years. Both programs feature a study abroad segment in India. The school also offers a Certificate in Yogic Studies, for those who do not wish to pursue a Master of Arts degree.

Who it’s for: Those who want a fully-tailored curriculum to delve into yogic philosophy and practice. Classes include Health Science and Yoga, Comparative Mysticism, and Sanskrit Language.

Lesley University: Master of Arts in Mindfulness Studies

This low-residency graduate program takes place over the course of two years, and goes beyond what’s typically offered in a yoga class. “Students are supported as they develop their personal mindfulness practice, and develop their thinking on how mindfulness can be applied to their own fields of interest and endeavors,” Dr. Jean says. Students can explore topics like Buddhist tradition, contemplative neuroscience, and partake in a mindfulness internship and on-campus summer residency. While yoga is not part of the degree curriculum, the program does feature Qi Gong, and yoga is offered on campus.

Who it’s for: Those interested in the more general aspect of a mindful practice, and/or those interested in bringing mindfulness into any career.

Naropa University: Bachelor of Arts in Yogic Studies

This Boulder, Colorado, school offers a Bachelor of Arts degree in Yoga Studies, along with a teacher training students can obtain on campus. Classes include Psychology of the Chakras and Experiential Anatomy, along with more classic yoga classes like Yoga 1: Foundations, and Yoga 3: Integral Practice.

Students can also minor in Yoga Studies. The degree also features a teacher training certificate along with a senior retreat. Students pursuing other topics of interest at the university can also partake in the school’s yoga teacher training program.

Who it’s for: Undergrad students seeking a solid core foundation and deep knowledge of yogic practices.

Maryland University of Integrative Health: Master of Science in Yoga Therapy

This graduate program offers a foundational experience in yoga therapy, as well as a deep dive into understanding the body’s systems from a holistic, integrative perspective. Classes take place over the course of nine weekends on campus in Laurel, Maryland, and include subjects like Mind/Body Science and Professional Practices for Yoga Therapy Practitioners.

Who it’s for: Working professionals seeking a straightforward degree program to practice yoga therapy.

If you don’t wish to pursue a full-blown academic degree in yoga, several technical and community colleges now offer teacher training programs on campus. The University of New Mexico, Taos, for example, offers a RYT-200 teacher training, allowing students to study to teach yoga while paying reduced in-state tuition. Time to hit the mat … and the books!